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Lumbasi sometimes thinks he is our president or something because his father gives him money whenever he appears after many months. And he thinks he is president because his father drives trucks to Uganda and Congo and Burundi. So he thinks because our fathers don’t ever leave the village, that he is more important than us. He has agreed to play kati with us, only if he is the helper, a position we all want and is only earned through pikipiki pongi. And since we are six and Niki died, the mathematics is not adding up because we are to be in teams of three. Lumbasi has thrown us into a panic and now we have to call Miriam even though her mother has promised to grind us in her posho mill if she sees us lingering around her homestead or going near Miriam. She thinks we stole her guinea fowl, which was not even that sweet and it was not our idea anyway. It was our stomachs and when stomachs demand, they demand.
We are in the field bordering the road that takes you to the dispensary. This is where we love playing when we are not grazing our cows in the meadow. The grass on our soles feels good, like the carpet in Mrs. Nabwire house. The air is too fresh like any mid-morning and the sun is not yet upset with us. Timina has been looking at Lumbasi with bad eyes but Lumbasi is not caring; he is president. Majimbo has gone to peek at Miriam’s home and see if he can convince Miriam to join us because we know her mother is at her posho mill business. We are now lying on the grass, looking at the skies.
If someone tells you to drink urine and they give you a million, will you drink? Wekesa asks us.
I will drink a whole korokoro even just for fifty bob! Sifuna says.
I will drink it too and use the money to buy laced dresses, Timina says. Then I will be a bride.
Now who will agree to have a bride like you? Sifuna says.
My brother. And I will not invite you to my wedding, she says.
Timina thinks she can have a wedding and we don’t attend? Is she stupid or what? Weddings are for everyone. All one has to do is bath and present an empty stomach. And Sifuna has asked a good question. Who can agree to have Timina as his bride when she likes crying over small things? Even she might cry on her wedding day, as if it is a funeral.
I will buy a car and a house and go live with Wizkid, Lumbasi says.
We are laughing at him because Wizkid cannot live with dirty child like him or us. Wizkid is an important person with clean people around him.
Then we see a flight of cranes high up and we start singing okok okok mia koke to the birds so that they can bless us with the crescents at the base of our finger nails or at least just white dots. We are flapping our arms, gesturing at the birds to come. But when Majimbo sprints past us, screaming, we forget the birds and run even faster than him, with Wekesa trailing the pack because of his feet with jiggers that he got after stepping on a grave. Majimbo signals us to stop only when we are at the junction leading to our primary school. His tongue is outside and he spits repeatedly.
She said she is unleashing Simba! Majimbo says of Miriam and Sifuna says, that thin dog? Let it come. I will kick it to its death.
But Wekesa looks behind, we see Sifuna’s fear all over his face and that is the thing with Sifuna. He thinks he is Samson, but he is very thin, even Timina can fight him. He is thin because he swallowed a nylon paper when he was young and his intestines are twisted around the paper, that is why he never gets fat even if he swallowed a cow. We are still panting and I can feel a thin line of sweat passing through my line that separate my buttocks.